The Ghosts Of Divorce

Does divorce leave a haunting presence? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday, I wrote on divorce and the future. Today, I would like to look at how it affects the past. By this, I am speaking a lot of the ghosts of divorce. No. I don’t mean ghosts in the sense of dead souls wandering around. Let’s see what I mean.

On September 20th, I went with a friend to the movie theater to see Free Guy. On the side, that’s an awesome movie and you should go see it. The movie was playing at a theater that met at the mall. It was a movie theater that a church she and I used to attend met at regularly. A lot of time was spent by us at the mall.

I had a free birthday slice from Sbarro pizza so I got there early. With time, I walked around the mall and noticed how awkward it was. The mall seemed to be haunted with her presence wherever I meant.

There’s Build-A-Bear. I used to get her a lot of stuffed animals there. Did I get her that Harley Quinn one that she wanted so much? I bet she sure would like those that are there now from Animal Crossing. I remember she even got me some there.

There’s Hot Topic. We used to go through there on a regular basis. Both of us had different pop culture interests that we could go and share with one another. How many times did we walk through just looking at goofy items?

There’s Godiva chocolates. I remember that I told her that it was good to always just walk through because you could get free samples any time. She always loved chocolate and I wanted to get her more if I could, but the money wasn’t there.

She liked to go into Spencer’s. I didn’t care for the store. Most of the stuff seemed off-color to me and inappropriate, but I did remember going there.

There’s where the church office was. It had a rented space at the mall as well. It’s no longer there, but we spent many a day just hanging out down here.

I could go on and on, but ghosts of the past are always there. Fortunately, the movie was so good they didn’t haunt me during that, but I talked about it with my friend who has been divorced and is remarried and he told me the first time he went to Disneyworld with his new wife, his ex’s ghost was there. It does get better, I was told.

The mall isn’t the only place those ghosts show up.

Sometimes, it can be a simple phrase that someone says that can remind me of a joke that she and I shared together. There are so many that I think I can never do again because they were ones that we had. Laughs that we shared together can never be brought back. It’s sad to think that she chose to sacrifice all of those.

For a guy, physical intimacy is one of the great gifts of marriage. Now even that brings pain. Those times were good, but now they feel so distant and far away and you wonder if such times will ever come again.

As a Christian man, this is something that hits me hard. After all, I played by the rules. To this day, I do not do pornography. This is not to say the temptation has never been there and sometimes very painfully, but it has always been resisted. It’s still something that does bring to mind the idea that nice guys do finish last.

For that part, I am working on other areas. No. Definitely not getting into pornography or breaking my Christian morals, but on learning more on how to interact with women and working on being more forward. That kind of growth I take to be good anyway. This is one time where the past can be harmful, but I can also choose to say that love is something worth fighting for and go searching.

I have had people I work with who are normally much younger than I am ask me about such items as anime and I see people with t-shirts with anime characters on them. That can be painful because anime was something she loved and something we watched together. Now I choose to not let the past hold me down again and avoid anime for the time being, but that doesn’t mean pain isn’t there.

Of course, other simple things can bring her to mind. Just going to bed at night can bring her to mind as I am with my parents again and there were times we visited for holidays where we would go up here to sleep together at night. I wonder if I will ever share that again.

Back in December when I was still in Georgia, I had to go to see my parents for Christmas. She was in the facility then and I think about how hard the drive was to get to Knoxville as there was such bad weather that I was going down the interstate at 20 MPH. If she had been with me, she would have been my extra set of eyes. She always was.

These ghosts are often around me and can pop up at the strangest times and I cannot possibly name all of them. I do refuse to let them hold me back. I am trying to do what I can to go out there and meet people and do more interaction. I am working on getting more done here so I can get away from my parents and be out in the world on my own meeting people and being self-sufficient. I have decided I can either conquer or be conquered and I choose the former.

Still, for now, the past is there and it doesn’t go away. I have to make a deliberate choice to learn from it and move on. It will take time, but I want to come out of this stronger than I was.

Thank you, fellow travelers.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Thinking About 9/11 And Our Past

What can we learn from this day? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

As I start to write this blog, it’s about 8:42 in the morning EST. I think it was around this time that Professor Wheeler came to us as we were sitting in the gym area of our Bible College where morning worship took place as this place could seat the whole student body. Before the sermon, he said to pray for the people of New York. A plane had just hit one of the World Trade Center towers.

There was no panic or anything. I doubt people were thinking we were under attack. I sure wasn’t. I don’t even remember a discussion about it going on around me so we went and had our worship service. After that, the announcement came that the second tower had been hit by a plane. Now it was no longer an accident of some kind. This was an attack.

9/11 is a day where we always look to the past. Lately, this has been quite a contentious topic in America. We have scores of people who want to take down statues of our past and change street names related to our past. I haven’t said much about it, but I do not support such an action.

You see, 9/11 taught us something. It did show us a way that we were vulnerable and now we have improved on that to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Having suffering come into your life for a reason can be a tragedy. Not learning from it so that you repeat the mistake is even worse. If you do not learn from your mistakes, why should you not expect to repeat them?

We can’t erase 9/11. We can’t rewind the tape and undo it. Many of us have things from our recent history that we would love to go back and get to do them over again. It’s useless to wish for. You don’t have that ability. The best you can do is look at the event and see what you can learn from it.

It’s also useless for us to stay in the past and beat ourselves up over it. It happened. It would have been nice if it hadn’t, but it did happen. If it was for some sin we did, we repent and move on and agree to do better. No further punishment is needed for Jesus took it on for us. If it is for something that happened to us, we learn how to better prepare ourselves for next time. The past can be a great teacher for us.

So now we get to the craze today of removing statues. It would be nice if we could go back in time and remove the failures of our past from us, but we can’t. Slavery happened and there’s no changing that. No one today though is responsible for what happened in the past. The more we try to punish people today for what happened, the more we make ourselves live in the past and hold people responsible for what they did not do.

Our past can be ugly, but it cannot be erased. We can live like it didn’t happen, but it did. If we act like it didn’t happen, we are more prone to make the same mistakes. To hold up the statues is not to celebrate the past, but to acknowledge it. none of us should want to celebrate what happened.

When we remember 9/11, we don’t celebrate what happened. We remember it. Where we are the ones guilty of a sin, we have grace for ourselves and repent and move on and celebrate the grace of God. Where we have been wronged and put in danger, we learn from the past and say we won’t repeat it again.

Today, we’ll be thinking about 9/11. Part of our yearly ritual on this day is to watch the World Trade Center movie. We also ask that you thank God for the people you know in your life who are first responders. If you’re reading this and you’re a first responder, thank you for your service.

And if you’re reading this and you lost someone in 9/11, my sympathies go out to you. Nothing can ever really change this day. We can only say what was said long ago, that we will rebuild and live on. Never forget the past, but don’t let it be a place of permanent residency. This goes for all of us. May we all have grace and live our lives today. We don’t dare act like it didn’t happen. It happened and it mattered and the lives of those who died will never be deaths in vain.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

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